Asian markets take cue from Wall Street to advance, STI ends 13 points up

SINGAPORE - Asian markets mostly advanced Thursday, picking up the baton from record performances in New York and Europe where traders cheered upbeat US economic data and Donald Trump's conciliatory speech to Congress.

On Wall Street, the Dow - which until Tuesday had racked up 12 successive record closes - powered past 21,000 points for the first time, while London also clocked up an all-time high finish.

In Singapore, the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI) ended the day up 13.71 points, or 0.44 per cent at 3,136.48. Market breadth deteriorated in the afternoon to end with 1.1 advances to every stock that fell, analysts of NetResearch Asia wrote in a report.

Some 2.8 billion units worth S$1.8 billion were traded.

UMS shares rose 1 cent at 69 cents after a broker upgraded the stock to buy with a price target of 73 cents. Named an "attractive takeover target", the stock also boosts a dividend yield of 8.9 per cent, NRA report said.

Elsewhere, shares of Capitaland, City Developments, DBS, Jardine Matheson, Jardine Strategic, Jardine C&C, Keppel Corp, OUE, SATS, Sembcorp Marine, SIA, Wilmar, Venture Corp, Yangzijiang and Yanlord rose between S$1 and S$1.90.

The optimism continued into Asia, with Tokyo rallying 0.9 percent thanks to a drop in the yen and Sydney added more than one per cent. Seoul put on 0.5 per cent, while Wellington, Taipei, Manila and Jakarta all posted healthy gains.

However, Shanghai eased 0.5 per cent and Hong Kong reversed early gains of more than one percent to end 0.2 per cent lower, AFP reported.

"The overwhelming feeling is positive," Karl Goody, a private wealth manager at Shaw and Partners in Sydney, told Bloomberg News. "There's a huge thirst and ultra-high demand from people with money trying to find a home. This is going to continue."